Tuesday, December 20, 2011

MIB Insight

The “Men in Black” movies are mostly just clever entertainment. A new one coming out next year has prompted me to revisit the first two. There is not a lot of deep thought or insight here, outside of the most generic of bits about how small we really are in the grand scheme of things, how clueless people are to reality, and about the sacrifice of serving humanity.

There is, however, a moment of unusual insight in the first film when K is recruiting J for the agency. J asks why there is such a need for secrecy. He thinks people would be able to handle the weight of the truth. K’s response is revealing:

“A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.”

This speaks to the reality of how dangerous a Mass of people really is. We are all a mixture of individual and a member of community. In Western culture we don’t really recognize that as much as we should. We are focused on our individual side, with all the freedom, responsibility and accountability that implies. We don’t like to be told that we are also largely influenced by the communities to which we belong.

Biblical teaching highlights this dual reality that we live. Every person is accountable for their own response to God and His call, but we also bear responsibility for the community we live amongst.

A paraphrase of K’s statement could be: “A person is redeemable, can be shown the truth and rescued from their sinful way; people are fallen, scary monsters, capable of great evil.”

Even in the MIB universe, people still have potential and are deserving of a chance, of rescue. As followers of Jesus we need to have His heart for individuals who need to hear His story, but we also need to have His heart for humanity as a whole. We need to represent Christ to community, but also to stand before God for the communities we represent in recognition of the wrongs we perpetuate and repentance.

Here is that scene:

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